Swapnil Gaikwad

Swapnil Gaikwad
Current Position: Software Developer at ICHEC (Irish Centre for High End Computing)

I completed my Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science at the University of Pune, India. Then I worked for three years as an applications developer in a software company in India. While working I came across a project with a flavour of HPC that demonstrated the potential of parallel computing and its benefits to the end users. This caught my attention and created an interest in HPC.

Considering my background, I was looking for a way to gain more knowledge about HPC and parallel computing. Initially I did not plan to do a master's course because I was not sure whether it was worth doing after working in industry for quite a while. I came across EPCC’s MSc in HPC in an internet search. Looking at the course contents I found it to be perfect for me, I did not find any other course that was so focused on HPC. I also went though the profiles of EPCC staff and the course organizers. This cleared all the uncertainties in my mind and truly speaking, I realized that I had so many things to learn about parallel computing. I was also fascinated by the fact that I could get a chance to use the UK's national supercomputing service. After this I immediately applied for the MSc.

The MSc course was really wonderful and it was the exact thing I was looking for. The best thing was that it was extremely well structured and perfect for one who wants to start learning about HPC. The course covered a vast area of topics taught by extremely knowledgeable people. Importantly, the course was very practical, which gave a deep understanding of the subject with hands-on experience. Lab assignments were very well organized and made us understand key topics clearly. Along with the topics in parallel computing, the MSc covers software development and programming skills, which makes it a complete package.

The whole journey as a student at the University was memorable for me, but my best time was with friends while building the clusters during Innovative Learning Week and for the Students’ Cluster Challenge at ISC'13 (International Supercomputing Conference). A team of four of us built a cluster from scratch, and this gave me an enormous learning experience with incredible fun. We were the first team from the UK to ever participate in the Cluster Challenge. We also managed to secure second place for the fastest cluster and the fastest cluster in Europe under the 3kW power limit.       

Edinburgh is very beautiful city with a great history and it is full of helpful people who are very receptive to people from foreign countries. As this was my first international trip, my opinion might have been biased. However, after visiting other cities and countries I can certainly say "I love Edinburgh!!!". There were many groups in the University where we could join other students sharing similar interests. We got a chance to go the tourist places, celebrate our festivals, festivals of the people from different countries and to get to know various cultures.

Currently I am working as a software developer at ICHEC (Irish Centre for High End Computing), which manages the Irish Supercomputing Service. In my current job I work on various interesting projects. Recently a new supercomputer named "Fionn" was launched and I am involved in setting up some applications on it. I also work on the European research project ‘Autotune’, which will help users to optimise their code for performance and energy efficiency and will also do the optimisation automatically. Other initiatives are also giving me opportunity to learn new technologies like Intel XeonPhi. In the longer term, I want to be a software architect and make valuable contributions to the community.

The MSc in HPC enabled me to get this job and I use knowledge obtained from it in my everyday tasks. I am really glad that I took the course which allowed me to follow my dream career path.

I highly recommend the MSc to anyone who is passionate about learning parallel computing. It gives excellent knowledge about HPC from the experts. All you need is a basic familiarity with computers and the MSc course will take you from there.

Contact us

Mr Ben Morse
+44 (0) 131 651 3398
msc@epcc.ed.ac.uk

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